Action for August Fruit and veg
What to sow now
It’s not too late to sow salad crops such as lettuce, sorrel, radish, rocket, chicory and fennel as these mature quickly but keep them well watered.
If you live in a warmer area, you can also sow spring cabbage, turnips, oriental vegetables and overwintering onions
Cut back herbs that are starting to flower – if they go to seed, they won’t produce more leafy growth.
What to harvest now
Harvest potatoes, sweetcorn, garlic, onions, shallots, French beans, runner beans, courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Finish harvesting early potatoes – if you leave them in the ground, the slugs will undoubtedly get them
Celery is often self-blanching these days, so you may not want to exclude light from it and blanch it to make it white. If you do like whiter celery, however, now’s the time to secure a tube of cardboard around the stems to keep light out.
- Pick apples, plums and blackberries
- If the plums on your trees are weighing the branches down, support them with canes.
- Cut out the canes of raspberries that have finished bearing fruit.
Protect fruit and veg from pests
Rocket is prone to being attacked by flea beetle, which can riddle the leaves with holes. Cover sowings with very fine mesh to protect the plants.
Greenfly and blackfly
Look out for greenfly and blackfly, especially on beans, peas and peppers. Squash them, treat with a spray containing bifenthrin or pyrethrins or blast them off with a jet of water.
Check cucumbers, courgettes, squash and peas for signs of powdery mildew. Blight appears on potatoes and tomatoes as brown spots or blotches on leaves.
Remove affected leaves and burn or bin them. Spray with a copper-based fungicide or Bio Dithane 945 every two weeks if the weather’s warm and damp.
Cabbage white caterpillars
Look for cabbage white caterpillars on brassicas. Squash the yellow eggs on the leaf undersides. Pick off the caterpillars or use a spray that contains bifenthrin or pyrethrins.
Cabbage aphids form colonies that feed on the undersides of the leaves. Treat the aphids with a contact insecticide containing bifenthrin, fatty acid soap or pyrethrins. In future, cover crops with a fine, insect-proof mesh.
Soft fruit - birds and aphids
Use netting to keep birds off soft fruit. Check for raspberry aphids. Large types are shiny yellow-green; small types are powdery grey-green. Squash them, spray them off with a jet of water, or use an insecticide based on fatty acid soap or pyrethrins.